31+ Activation Energy Examples: Uses And Detailed Facts

In molecular physics, it is the minimum amount of energy required to energize the molecules.

The activation energy is the energy supplied to the matter to get the work done. Let us see some of the activation energy examples in this article as listed below:-

Lighter to Lit the Gas

The natural gas running to the burner is ignited using a spark created by the lighter. On pushing the piston of the lighter, the stone near the tip of the lighter rubs and produces a spark due to friction. This stone is very sensitive and is made up of piezoelectric ceramics mostly made up of lead.

Ignite the Campfire

To put a campfire, the fire is the activation energy to burn the wood.

The wood will burn by supplying it with heat energy in terms of fire. This heat energy will be utilized to break the carbon bonds and react with the oxygen to form the carbon dioxide.

Kinetic Energy for Running

The energy to run we receive from the chemical potential energy of the food. This provides us with the potential energy that will be utilized to do the work. Well, this potential energy is converted into kinetic energy by the mechanical energy generated by the muscular force of our body. Hence, the potential energy, as well as the muscular energy, is the activation energies here.

Fire the Matchstick

To fire the matchstick we rub the matchstick on the surface which is made up of red phosphorus.

On rubbing, the frictional force is exerted on both the surface and the lid of the matchstick. This frictional energy is converted into the heat energy which is supplied to the phosphorus electrons and the excitation of electrons results in the fire.

Jump on the Trampoline

A trampoline is used to jump higher with equal incident force and conserve the momentum of the body. To take a leap from the trampoline, an equal amount of energy has to be imposed by making a jump on it which is then converted into kinetic energy and back to the potential energy and the cycle continues till you conserve your potential energy.

Heat for Boiling

For a liquid to raise the temperature to the boiling point, the phase at which it will change from liquid to vapor state, the amount of heat energy needs to be supplied to raise the temperature of the liquid to the boiling temperature.

Fire to boil the liquid; Image Credit: pixabay


It is a process of generating electric current from the chemical reaction taking place between the two solutions connected along with the wire. Depending upon the availability of the ions, there is a motion of the ions from one container to another through a wire connected to the rods inserted in each of the solutions. This mobility of the ions conducts electric current.


It is a process of generating heat and light by the chemical reaction between the substances and the oxygen from the air. It is carried either due to the frictional force or burning.

Key for Vehicles

To start a vehicle you need a key that starts the engine of the vehicle.

Key to start the engine of a bike; Image Credit: Pixabay

As the engine starts working, the piston moves up and down combusting the fuel supplied from the fuel engine, and the vehicle starts.


To set the swing to oscillate, it has to give the initial oscillation. The greater the angle you pull from the normal of the swing, the more time it will take for you to come back to the initial position.


To generate a spark the frictional force has to be applied or there should be a continuous supply of heat energy for the excitation of the electron.

Spark due to excitation of an electron during welding;
Image Credit: pixabay

You must have observed the spark coming out when you hammer the nail continuously. This is due to the fact that the frictional force is converted into the heat energy which is supplied to the free electrons on the surface that is excited with the extra available energy in the form of a spark.

Fuel for Engine

For the engine to work, there should be a supply of fuel for the combustion process to occur and provide energy to the system. Without fuel, the engine doesn’t work. Hence chemical energy is the activation energy to convert it into heat energy during the combustion process.


The steamboat works on the vapor generated by boiling the water in the boiler. The heat energy is supplied to the boiler by the combustion of wood or coal.

Steamboat; Image Credit: Pixabay

As the temperature of the water reaches the boiling point, the water turns into a vapor state and the turbine is made to rotate.

Roll the Ball

To roll the ball the external pressure has to be applied to the ball. The force should be in proportion to the mass of the ball such that it moves its initial position and accelerate. Hence, the energy required to apply the force corresponding to its mass is the activation energy.

Light the Bulb

To light the bulb there should be a source of electrical energy. The light bulb emits radiations based on the excitation energy of the electron of the metal used in a bulb.


The rise in a sea surface temperature above 270 C will develop the probability of developing a cyclone. The rise in temperature results in the fall of the atmospheric pressure below 1 atm which results in the rising of water vapors.

Cyclone; Image Credit: Pixabay

The kinetic energy gained by the vapors is so large that they raise to a large height and then convert back into the potential energy and return down and the cycle continues forming the eye of the cyclone due to vacuum.


The evaporation of the water vapors in the atmosphere during the cold weather is due to the heat energy received by the molecules of the water during intense sunlight. This energy is given by evaporation and condenses into the fog.  Because of the cold climate, more of the heat energy is given away by the water bodies.

Coal in Trains

The combustion of coal is used to supply the energy to the engine to work and convert the chemical energy into the kinetic energy of the train.

The coal used for combustion; Image Credit: Pixabay

The coal is made up of carbon which easily reacts with the oxygen in the air to convert into the carbon dioxide during the combustion process.

Remove the Dirt from the Clothes

The molecules of detergents behave like a bar magnet with water. At one end it acts as hydrophilic mixes with water and another end act as hydrophobic repels away from water molecules. This also reduces the surface tension capacity of the water. These molecules lift the dust particle on the fabric and wash it away.

Nuclear Fission

Fission is the bifurcation of parent nuclei to produce two daughter nuclei. The energy required for the parent nuclei to carry out the fission reaction is gained by the incident particle that makes the neutron unstable by giving the energy on bombarding with it.


Light-emitting diode emits light when connected to the source. The color of the light depends upon the energy bad gap between the diode.

LED flashlight; Image Credit: Pixabay

The excitation energy is required to cross this barrier by the free electron present in the semiconductor which is supplied by the electrical energy.


The light-dependent resistor depends upon the intensity of light incident on the photoresistor. If the intensity of the light falling on the LDR is maximum, then the resistance value of the photoresistor will be less and if the intensity of the light is less, then the resistance value of the photoresistor will be more.


Semiconductors are of two types depending upon the type of element doped to form either n-p-n or p-n-p semiconductors. The semiconductor starts conducting when the energy is supplied to the material in the form of electrical or heat energy.

Solar Panels

The solar panel converts the sunlight into electrical energy and the inverter converts the dc into an alternate current.

Solar panels, Image Credit: Pixabay

As the photons carried by the sunlight are incident on the panel, the energy is grasped by the valence electrons of silicon and starts moving towards the protons. This movement caused the generation of electric current.

Transition of Electrons

For electrons to transit from one energy level to a higher energy level, a lot of energy is required which is supplied to the electron in the form of heat or electrical energy. The transition of the electrons emits the radiations depending upon the energy required to jump at the higher energy levels. Upon releasing the energy by the electrons, the electrons fall from the higher level to the lower energy levels.


The motor will start working by supplying the electrical energy source to the two terminals of the motor. The amount of voltage required for the motor to work depends upon the magnetic strength of the field of the motor.


The drones are controlled remotely by varying the voltage supplied to the propellers of the drone.

Drones used in a cotton farm; Image Credit: Pixabay

The drone will work properly if the correct propellers are used with the specific motors and the battery source depending on the weight of your model.


The capacitor stores some amount of energy with it even after disconnecting from the circuit. This is used as activation energy by the fans initially when the switch is turned on.

Sunlight for Photosynthesis

The sunlight is required by the plant to produce food and oxygen. The carbon dioxide is utilized by the plant to use carbon to form glucose.


Lighter compose of butane fuel that is highly reactive with the air and flammable on coming in contact with the air.

Lighter; Image Credit: Pixabay

On pressing the knob the frictional force creates a spark. The pressure is released and the butane is converted into gas that catches fire.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to calculate the activation energy?

The activation energy is the energy required by the system to conduct the work.

The activation energy is calculated using the Arrhenius equation of energy which is given by the formula

where Ea is the activation energy and k is a rate constant.

How activation energy is very essential?

The activation energy is the energy required for a process to start.

It is the energy supplied to the system that may be converted into some other form of energy ahead but required utilizing which the system will do the work.

Also, please click to know about 9+ Free Energy Examples.


Hi, I’m Akshita Mapari. I have done M.Sc. in Physics. I have worked on projects like Numerical modeling of winds and waves during cyclone, Physics of toys and mechanized thrill machines in amusement park based on Classical Mechanics. I have pursued a course on Arduino and have accomplished some mini projects on Arduino UNO. I always like to explore new zones in the field of science. I personally believe that learning is more enthusiastic when learnt with creativity. Apart from this, I like to read, travel, strumming on guitar, identifying rocks and strata, photography and playing chess. Connect me on LinkedIn - linkedin.com/in/akshita-mapari-b38a68122

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